Around the farm

Despite a really long winter, I’m amazed every day at the beauty springing forth around me.

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These guys were so hot today they were hanging out on the outside of the hive.

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And they’re loving the crabapple!

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A visit to my mother’s garden.

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Some beauty in our fall gardens

Well, it’s officially fall now and we’ve experienced our first light frost. It’s always sad to see the heat loving summer plants go (I’m already missing you basil…sniff, sniff) but we’re relishing in the abundance of beautiful fall crops (hello cilantro!) With shorter days and cooler temps, everything seems to perk up and colors become more intense. At our local market people often comment on how beautiful our yard must be, as if we live in some wondrous Shangri-La. After my kids get over their fits of snorting and giggling, I politely explain that most everything that is beautiful is at market and that our little farm isn’t all that gorgeous.  One of the hazards of being self employed at home is that there is always work around me just begging to be done and I tend to focus on that work and not the beauty. So, a couple days ago, I decided to ignore the voices in my head and grabbed the camera and set out to see just beauty.

I think Tom Thumb lettuce has to be one of the prettiest things we grow and it has the side benefit of being mighty tasty!

 

The zinnias perished with the frost but the roses continue to bloom.

I’m watching these brussels sprouts carefully as we rarely get our timing down correctly in order to get a good crop. Most years we get brussels peas!

The winter storage cabbages are starting to form heads and they relish the cold weather so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll make it.

The arugula and beets in the tunnel are coming along nicely and I’m looking forward to roasted beets come cold winter days. Too bad I’m allergic to arugula as I really love it.

 

This lovely rose, Mon Petite Chou (My Little Cabbage) is my favorite!

The bees are busily storing up for winter.

This solidago, Fireworks, is magnificent!

Although the plants aren’t so pretty, the tomatoes in the tunnel continue crank out lovely fruits.

After a long, hot and dry summer, I love the look of fresh new crops developing. These tiny carrots are growing by leaps and bounds and will feed our family nicely this winter.

These much underrated marigolds have been real workhorses this summer, producing buckets of stems every week.

The cooler it’s gotten, the brighter this celosia has become.

One of the final lilies of the summer.

Isn’t it wonderful how a camera can focus on just the lovely? I think I’ll try looking with a camera’s eye more often!

Honeybees…again

These bees and I have a love hate relationship going here. I love the wonderful honey we get from them, of course, and all the cool things a person can make from the bees wax, which will be a topic for another post, but I just hate my inadequacies when it comes to keeping them alive. I still consider myself a novice beekeeper and  after loosing my hive this past winter I’m now starting afresh with two hives. Hopefully I can keep at least one of them going.  So Friday morning after picking up my two “packages” of bees at Valhalla Bee Farm’s shop I hurried home to get them installed in their hives before lunch company arrived.

This is what approximately 20,000 bees looks like.

After taking the bee packages out near the hives we spray them with sugar syrup to impede their ability to fly while we get the box open and remove the queen.

A bee package is shipped with the queen suspended in a little box with the cluster of bees. Here Eliza checks out the queen before we put her in the hive. Actually I think she’s keeping a close eye on the bee sitting on her leg!

After setting the box of bees and the queen into the hive and giving them some sugar syrup, Eliza puts the lid back on. We’ll let them get acclimated for three days before we let the queen out of her little box. And for any of you wondering, no this is not child abuse to let our 8 year old handle bees without protection. Since the bees are new to this hive they don’t recognize it as their home yet so are very docile. This will be the only time that we handle them without a veil on.

Checking out the bee’s syrup!

And here is what the hive looks like after 3 days. They are definitely busy little bees!

And here is what the shipping box looked like when we removed it. It only took them 3 days to put all of this perfectly formed comb on the box…truly amazing!

Oh yes, and this was our lunch company…grand-baby  #3, Emma Jane!